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Rationalizing can sneak up on you

Rationalizing can sneak up on you

Sometimes things seem like a good idea, until you think about them a little. For example, I’ve been vaguely considering buying a second car. Which seems silly, because of course I can only drive one car at a time. But my car is a two-seater, and I hope to keep it for many many more years, so there are times when it might be helpful to have a slightly bigger car. (I’m thinking something small and foreign, with 4 cylinders and a back seat.) And my son is coming up on the age where he’d be able to get his license, and so of course it would be nice if he had something to drive too.

So the other morning I found myself thinking of going to the car auction. Just to poke around, you understand, since it’s been years since I’ve gone. I love auctions, so that would be fun no matter what. Maybe I could pick up something for a couple thousand dollars that would make a good car to drive now and then when I wanted to have more than one other person with me, and for my son to use for a few years.

But then there’s insurance costs, and maintenance, and well, just all the expensive stuff that goes along with owning a car. It seemed like a good idea, until I got to thinking about it in more detail. I’m still not convinced that it’s a horrible idea, but I don’t think it’s something to do right now. Especially since I am working on saving up money. It’s hard to save up money when you’re essentially thinking of ways to spend more of it every month.

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Do you ever find yourself doing this? Rationalizing a potential purchase?

View Comments (5)
  • I rationalize way too much for my own good. I think many of us do, we find a way to justify the money we spent or plan to spend.

  • I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve talked myself out of buying a 42″ plasma/LCD. But every time I think I’ve got enough money to feel comfortable with such a purchase, I end up convincing myself that my 5-year-old 20″ set still works too well to justify it.

  • I try very hard to rationalize the purchase of a MacBook. I really, really want one, but I already have a Windows laptop available anytime I need it that I didn’t even have to buy. So far, each time I’ve gone down this road, I have woke up and avoided spending the money. Hopefully, this trend will continue.

  • Oh indeed I do: I’ve been trying to rationalize my way to a new laptop for ages. And until I leave this job and can’t use my work laptop anymore, which can actually be unplugged for more than 5 minutes at a time, I won’t be able to pull the trigger on a purchase. Which is just as well, I need to save that money so that I can afford to be without this job!

  • After a fire that damaged to rooms, I rationalized spending additional money on upgrading the rooms over what the insurance paid. New windows (improved energy, less PG&E, looks great, decent price and energy rebate of $1500.) While this $7,000 is an unplanned purchase, I find that the panic subsides when I rationalize it.

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